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Suckling pig in Madrid

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Aug 22nd, 2012, 07:47 AM
  #1
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Suckling pig in Madrid

My partner is Filipino. One of his favorite meals in roast suckling pig. He was disappointed in Barcelona when we ordered it and just got a plate of "pork" served. We really want a whole suckling pig with crackling skin for two served at our table. Years ago, I did this at Botin in Toledo (not in Madrid) and was planning to repeat the wonderful experience at Botin in Madrid in mid September. But I've read several Botin reviews which makes it sound like they too now only serve a "plate of pork". Does anyone know if they still do the whole sucking pig for two? Or is there a better place to do this in Madrid? Sounds like a perfect final dinner in Europe before returning home!
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Aug 22nd, 2012, 08:13 AM
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Hi Patrick!
If you have time, make a day trip to Segovia and have lunch at José María or Cándido.The suckling pig at José María is second to none; and you can have the most beautiful sweet; "tarta de Segovia".
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Aug 22nd, 2012, 08:31 AM
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Casa Ricardo offers a 1/4 of a Cochinillo asado for €42,55 (www.casaricardo.es.tl). Order 4 and you have the whole pig! Other than that, it's Botin.

If you stop by either place a day early, you may be able to order the whole pig.
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Aug 22nd, 2012, 09:20 AM
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No, jelopez, just two full days in Madrid and my partner has never been!

Meanwhile I had our concierge book a 9:30 reservation for our final night at Botin after reading almost unanimous raves on Chowhound, which surprised me as I know it is also very touristy.
But I'm still not totally sure we can order a whole pig for 2.
Robert, are you suggesting we have to order a day early for one at Botin?
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Aug 22nd, 2012, 11:33 AM
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Since Botin became the big tourist attraction it is, they have had to cut back on what they offered many years ago, but you can always ask. If you stop by the day before, they may be able to satisfy your desire for a whole suckling pig. It's always worth a try.
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Aug 22nd, 2012, 12:55 PM
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Patrick - we roll into Madrid about when you leave.

Two weeks later we'll be in Segovia. We are planning on a suckling pig dinner at either Meson de Candido, Meson Duque, or Jose Maria (which I am leaning towards). Neither of us are big pork fans (we like other stuff more - usually the adventuresome dishes) - but while were are in the sucking pig capital - why not have suckling pig!!!

A few questions:
1. There are only two of us - will we get a plate of pork, or something "different"?
2. If 'something different", will we see the pig's "face" (snout, ears, eyes, etc)
3. If my wife "passes" on the pig - will I get the "full treatment" of suckling pig (whatever that is).
4. Maribel's guide seems to prefer Jose Maria for a
"non-touristy" dinner, and other guide books concur. It seems to me that a "pig is a pig" - is there any difference?

Stu Dudley
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Aug 22nd, 2012, 01:07 PM
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We got roast suckling pig in Segovia at Meson de Candido - about 10 years ago. If I remember correctly - there was no face - but definitely a hoof sticking out. My husband had a 1/4 I think. I had the veal. We joked that we were eating an animal lover's worst nightmare of a meal.
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Aug 22nd, 2012, 01:18 PM
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Well, Stu, I'm sort of asking some of the same stuff, as it's been a few years since I've done it, but I'm used to the idea of suckling pig for 2 people (Cochinillo Asada), which is a whole pig -- head, snout and all! Some places will bring it to the table then remove the head and offensive parts and plate it all up for you. That's the way it was done for us at Botin in Toledo, but admittedly that was at least 10 or 15 years ago! And it now occurs to me we also did it in Segovia once -- at a highly recommended place -- perhaps it was Jose Maria.

I don't think one person can usually get a whole pig -- well, unless you want to look like one yourself! LOL

One of the best parts is the crispy skin or cracklings. This is what was missing from the plate of pork brought to us in Barcelona.
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Aug 24th, 2012, 08:18 AM
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Since we re talking roasted meat, I thought I'd throw in a rec for fantastic roast lamb: Figon de Tinin in Sepulveda, about 30 miles north of Segovia. Been in business since 1850, Serves nothing but lamb, salad, bread, and wine. Igloo ovens. Truly spectacular. figondetinin.com. Out of the way but definitely worth it!

BTW: Put me down as a Jose Maria fan.
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Aug 24th, 2012, 08:23 AM
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Thanks, weber, but not having the time to get out of the city during our brief stopover, we're going to have to "make do" with roast lamb at Posada de la Villa.
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Aug 24th, 2012, 08:49 AM
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This is where we had roast suckling pig in Madrid (admittedly quite a few years ago): http://www.lascuevasdeluiscandelas.com/

I will leave it to the Madrid/Spain experts to comment on it, as it could well be a complete tourist trap or overpriced or something equally unappealing - I just remember enjoying the experience, and we did get a whole pig (for 4 people, I think).
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Aug 26th, 2012, 02:19 PM
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I've got quite a bit of information on the suckling pigs in this report, which covers a dinner at Jose Maria as well as two spectacular feasts of suckling lamb in Sepulveda and Pedraza.

For those uninterested in wading through all the details, here is the relevant section on Jose Maria, which explains a bit about these particularly coveted swine:


ekscrunchy on Jun 5, 06 at 6:46pm
Jose Maria is my kind of restaurant. Cozy, with professional service yet not in the least bit pretentious..the restaurant encloses a series of dining rooms with white plaster walls and lots of red brick. This is the one place that we saw quite a few fellow Americans, probably because we were eating so early at 9pm when the restaurant had just opened for dinner. For some reason, here and at most of the other places we ate that week, most tables seemed to be drinking Marques de Caceres Rioja. We had the house wine which proved to be the ideal choice, as Jose Maria has been well-known in the world of Spanish wine since he represented Spain in a world sommelier's contest in the early 70s and is currently the proprietor of his own vineyards in nearby Ribera del Duero, Finca y Bodega del Pago de Carraovejas.
We began with white asparagus served cold with a red pepper viniagrette. This will sound sacreligious, but I am a big fan of canned white asparagus from Navarra, which I buy in rather large quantites to take home with me. I began with one of the house specialties, Ensalada de Perdiz y Gallo Iberico escabechado con Foie Fresco y Endibias.
The cordero asado here must be ordered by two persons and, knowing that we would be on the lechazo trail the next day, my partner ordered the famous suckling pig, whose adorable relatives are featured on the menu cuddled up in Jose Maria's arms. The pig is no more than 3 weeks old and weighs a maximum of 4.5 kilos. This tiny animal is served with fabulous roasted potatoes. The meat is incredibly tender and the skin is so scrumptiously crispy that it is truly a wonder. The skin is so very crunchy that a large portion, including the tiny ear, actually bounced off the plate and onto the floor (boohoo) when we cut into it! Never mind.....we completely demolished the entire portion. Not able to wait a minute longer for my lamb, I ordered the baby lamb chops which proved to be the tiniest versions I had ever seen..the eye portion was not much larger than the face of my watch. Again, accompanied by fantastic roasted potatoes. Now I love my greens, but I must say I did not miss them one bit here...this is meat for meat connoisseurs and salad or vegetables would just occupy space that could be filled by more meat!

And for dessert, the sweet that is now competing with Pastel Vasco in my affections. Ponche Segoviano, is a confection of custard, marzipan (ooops, forgot about that delight in my list of top sweets) and liqueur oozing through layers of light yellow cake. I am sure Claire or Maribel will be able to provide a more accurate description..all I can say now is WOW.

Dinner at Jose Maria was wonderful, but not nearly as wonderful as the meals that awaited us the next two days when we left Segovia and began our journey into the Segovian hinterlands in search of Roast Suckling Lamb. The meal for the two of us, including water, the Tinto "Autor" Jose Maria, and a second dessert of ice creams, cost 96 E. with tax. (The cochinillo is priced at 19.95; the lamb chops at 18.50.)

We returned to the Parador after a small walk. With the help of the friendly staff at the front desk, I pinpointed the location of the nearest large supermarket, conveniently located in the town of La Lastrilla close to the Parador; this would be our first stop in the morning before heading to Sepulveda, a Castillian town synonymous with Lechazo, where we had a 3pm reservation at "Tinin."




http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...nd-segovia.cfm
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Aug 26th, 2012, 04:01 PM
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Thanks ek:

I think my wife might have problems looking a pig in the face on her plate. I want to make sure that I get this straight - your partner had pig for 2 - for 1. You had the lamb. Is that correct??

Stu Dudley
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Aug 26th, 2012, 05:02 PM
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We were last in Madrid om June of 2010 and Botin was still serving the whole suckling pig. They open them so that the head, back and extremities are all "of a piece" and covered with skin, then place them tummy down in an oval ceramic baking dish and stack them on shelves in a small pantry-like holding room that I refer to as "piggy purgatory", then roast them and cut them into quarters while they remain in the position described. What I can't remember is whether the portions per person are a half or a quarter. They are small, I think 19 days old or less and strickly milk fed, so whether you're served a quarter or a half, a person with a reasonable capacity could finish their portion without difficulty. If you want to ensure a large enough portion, just check with the waiter and be sure they are giving you the whole pig regardless of whether it's a dinner for two or four. Go for it. Enjoy Botin. We try to get seating in the downstairs. It's smaller and prettier in my opinion.
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Aug 26th, 2012, 06:52 PM
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i think half a piglet may be enough for two
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Aug 26th, 2012, 07:04 PM
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If you are ever here in Cambridge, There's a restaurant in my neighborhood who roasts a huge pig in the outdoor terrace,
my dog and I sniff it as we walk by.
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Aug 26th, 2012, 07:11 PM
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I think my wife might have problems looking a pig in the face on her plate.

The cheeks are some of the best parts.
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Aug 26th, 2012, 10:02 PM
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YUM, this is sure getting added to my of list places to research.
Thanks all.
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Aug 27th, 2012, 09:05 AM
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Stu: I suspect that he was given a half of the pig in a serving designed for one person. Julie's information is spot on. The pigs are tiny. I ordered the lamb chops,as the lechazo (roast suckling lamb, was served only for two, and we were bound for the lechazo heartland the next day)

If your wife is a squeamish or non-adventurous diner, you might want to avoid any of the asadores. Not only will you receive all or part of the face on the plate (and as Adu says, the cheek is very desirable), but many if not most of these restaurants display the whole animal in the front window cases as a point of pride. And the markets will be full of whole animals, dressed for cooking, as well as legs of jamon, with the hoof and some fur, for slicing.

And that is not to mention the unusual seafood items such as barnacles, tiny eels, baby octopus, all manner of shrimp with their heads still attached, and miniscule varieties of squid, displayed like jewels in the front of restaurants featuring seafood. We will not even mention the parts of the bull known as criadillas, served at a few traditional restaurants both in Spain and in Argentina and Mexico as well.

It's not like in the US, where the animals are usually broken down into parts before being sold, or prepared for restaurant service.
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Aug 27th, 2012, 09:08 AM
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From the window display of Jose Maria, in Segovia:



http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-vUEcYX3L_I...2B-%2BCopy.JPG



This is the whole suckling pig, as served at Jose Maria:


http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_9ImXm9QgVD...2BPart%2B2.JPG
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